Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

Using Outlook or other software to keep track of 'things'..

Was 'chatting' to Normy about this on another thread and thought I'd take it off-topic.

I have discovered I only have Outlook Express, which has email and that's it. Was disappointed!!!! Normy uses Outlook for all sorts of her stuff.

So I have decided to use ACT!, my CRM software, instead. I have created recurring tasks for my morning, daytime and evening routines, and put in a few weekly ones as well. I even got creative and downloaded some icons so they look different to all the other To-Dos (client-related, mainly).

BUT I decided to keep my Master To-Do on paper in my dayplanner. I'm not sure why - I just like it on paper, even if I have to frequently re-write it. Maybe it's because I find it comforting to re-write my list. I love to plan. LOVE it. Just don't like DOING stuff ;).

What does everyone else do????

planning strategies

I have everything in Outlook, too, which I replicate on my PDA. I use Outlook Tasks only for tasks I need an alert for. My master to-do list is in a buggy little program called Pocket Thinker. It crashes all the time - very poorly implemented - but it's the only program I've found that has the features I want. It can make infinitely nested lists, with and without checkboxes, and with or without various fields (start, target, end, priority, etc.)

My daily list I compile each morning from the master list, and whatever passing task is on there for the day (like today's laundry and house-cleaning, or if I have to deposit a check). I write it out first on my Tablet PC (substitute for paper, but don't kill any trees. I can write on my tablet just as I'd write with pen and paper. I use Microsoft OneNote on the tablet, and I have my routines in OneNote. They are saved as "stationery" so I can bring up a new, clean list by clicking the new page button.

All this technology helps me enormously. I'm very forgetful (ADD), and without reminders and lists I am utterly lost.

PDA Software

I know of people who use shopping software for their lists - apparently this software allows you to list things by shop, and within the shop by department, and within that by aisle. So instead of shopping they use it for list and sub-lists etc. In fact, I'm just beginning to remember I had a particular piece of software for managing projects that could be used for lists, but I think I decided against using it because it was around the time I discovered David Allen, and that I could actually use Outlook and (if hotsynch had ever worked properly) interface with the PDA.

If anyone's interested in the names of the software give me shout and I'll look it up (but only if you're ~really~ interested please! I don't want to go on a wild goose chase!).

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not off-topic

> Was 'chatting' to Normy about this on another thread and thought I'd take it off-topic.

Not off-topic. I moved it to the "Questions, Answers, and Insights" board.

I love to plan too!

Isn't it weird how we can enjoy doing it even though, when we're procrastinating, we know there'll be no outcom? LOL!

As Milo says I use Outlook quite extensively. It's a very powerful program and very underused generally. My DSO is an IT trainer and is in awe of what I can do with Outlook, LOL! (haven't managed to get it to boil a kettle yet though :p )

I learned about Outlook in two ways - after I'd had an op one year I spent ages fiddling about with it, so I was ~very~ familiar with more than just the basics. I was also an IT trainer for a while, but I don't think I picked up anything new then. The David Allen downloadable booklet from taught me more than anything else. I slightly tweaked the system to suit my own needs (and I'm tweaking it a bit more now to get these datestamps and priority numbers in). I thought I could just use the 'start date' box as my datestamp, but it won't let me do that without assigning a due date. That's daft - of course you can start on something without having a due date! I'll probably just create a new field or something - for now it's just going in notes so at least I've started (I've learnt not to being a perfectionist about setting up new/amended systems!).

I do have my paper lists as well - for me having it typed up makes a difference. I don't know why, and I guess I don't need to - all I know is it works!

For today, for example, I did an advanced search on Outlook to find all the jobs that were due today, and used them as the skeleton plan for the day. Then I had a look at my list of items that I'd like to do soon, but don't have a specific date on them*, and fitted them into the gaps, with a big gap of nothing in the evening for goofing off (my reward!). Some days it's just 'Do Routines' 'Go to payroll job', so I only need the Outlook Task List for that day (I can usually remember to go to work!).

*I did play around with my list and I used the idea suggested recently of giving each thing a number, and the number helps me work out the priority. I was going to go with 1 = Urgent & Important, 2 = Urgent not Important, 3 = Important but Not Urgent, 4 = Not Urgent & Not Important. As I tend to ditch the 4s straight away it left me with just three categories, which I thought was rather limiting, and I don't seem to get many 2s either - if I don't think something's important I guess I tend not to do it, LOL! Anyway, since that left me with just two categories I decided to go with the original suggestion and make the numbers mean that something will be done within a certain time period.

So from now on I'm date stamping the tasks as they come in, assigning a number (if it's urgent it gets a lower number, simple as that) and using that (and my personal whims!) to help me decide what's next!

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Beautiful attitude

Normy wrote: "I do have my paper lists as well - for me having it typed up makes a difference. I don't know why, and I guess I don't need to - all I know is it works!"

It's better not analyze a thing to death, isn't it?--'coz so often that's just another way of procrastinating! Just do what works and be glad! Yeah!